Definition: Upper Secondary education (ISCED level 3)

Education - ISCED

Upper secondary education (ISCED level 3) Programmes at ISCED level 3, or "upper secondary" education, are typically designed to complete secondary education in preparation for tertiary education, or to provide skills relevant to employment, or both. Programmes at this level offer students more varied, specialised and in-depth instruction than programmes at lower secondary education (ISCED level 2). They are more differentiated, with an increased range of options and streams available (ISCED 2011).

This level of education typically begins at the end of full time compulsory education for those countries that have a system of compulsory education. More specialization may be observed at this level than at ISCED level 2 and often teachers need to be more qualified or specialized than for ISCED level 2. The entrance age to this level is typically 15 or 16 years. The educational programmes included at this level typically require the completion of some 9 years of full-time education (since the beginning of level 1) for admission or a combination of education and vocational or technical experience and with as minimum entrance requirements the completion of level 2 or demonstrable ability to handle programmes at this level.

Level 3 includes also: 

 - This level includes also special needs education programmes and adult education.

Level 3 excludes: 

 - Remedial programmes that are designed for participants who have pursued a programme at ISCED level 2 but who have not attained the objectives of ISCED level 2 programmes (and which can therefore not be regarded as equivalent in content to any of the ISCED 3 programmes described below) should not be classified at ISCED level 3 but at ISCED level 1 or 2 depending on the content of the programmes (ISCED 1997).
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), "International Standard Classification of Education - ISCED 2011", Paris, September 2011

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